chapter  1
7 Pages

The Hospital’s privilege of 1113: texts and contexts


Pope Paschal II’s privilege of 1113 marked a fundamental point of progress in the development of the Jerusalem hospice, confirming and maintaining the lasting assistential and hospitaller aspects of its character and culture. Although the bibliography for the proto-history and origins of the Order of Saint John is enormous and frequently unsatisfactory, this chapter offers only the briefest observations and references, even though the extent of the use, and frequently the misuse, of the 1113 document is astonishingly widespread. The major texts, the 1113 original, its confirmation of 1119 which was issued at Saint-Gilles in Languedoc, and another papal confirmation of 1135 issued at Pisa, are definitively edited by Rudolf Hiestand; 1 his article of 1980 remains the standard introduction to the subject. 2 More recent works include those of Jonathan Riley-Smith 3 and others. 4 The original parchment of 1113 is now in Malta. A variant original with differing cardinal witnesses, which survives in a fourteenth-century copy, possibly resulted from a confirmation issued by Pope Calixtus II in January 1123. 5


The Hospitaller Order eventually emerged from the initial establishment, apparently made shortly before 1071, of a hospice which was founded in Jerusalem by merchants from Amalfi and was attached to the Benedictine monastery of Sancta Maria Latina; Amalfitan merchants in Egypt seem to have secured the necessary permission from the caliph. The Amalfitans were not commercially active in Jerusalem itself nor did they have a fondaco there, 6 but they did support pilgrims at Salerno and in Antioch, and they sent subsidies to the Benedictine hospices in Jerusalem. They may have hoped to profit from the pilgrim traffic. 7 By 1082 at the latest Sancta Maria Latina also had a separate hospice for women.